Home Breaking News Firms accuse FCT land director, others of illegal demolition, land grab

Firms accuse FCT land director, others of illegal demolition, land grab

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By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

 

 

 

 

The Director of Land in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mainasara Babayo; a Special Assistant to the FCT Minister, Sale Sahabi and others have been accused of engaging in  unlawful demolition and land grabbing.

The allegations are contained in a petition to the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello by two firms – All Weather Techno Ent and Multijoy Hotels Ltd, claiming that Babayo and Sahabi colluded with Yinusa Usman of PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd to unlawfully appropriate their land after illegally demolishing their structures on the parcel of land described as: Plot No. BD/CP/16, measuring about 2.00 hectares, situated at Dutse Alhaji Layout, Abuja.

In the petition written for All Weather Techno and Multijoy Hotels by their lawyer, Professor Yemi Akinseye-Goerge (SAN), the firms said they were surprised that, despite the pendency of their suit at the High Court of the FCT, marked: CV/3093/2013 involving parties, Babayo and Sahabi acted in collusion with Usman to demolish their structures on the land and purported to assume ownership.

The petitioners, who also copied the FCT Commissioner of Police, the Director, Department of State Security, among others, argued that the demolition of the structures on the land in dispute in the face of a pending suit, amounted to an affront to the court’s judicial authority and intended to frustrate the plaintiffs, but also a challenge to public order, peace and security.

They stated that before the demolition, some officials of the Department of Development Control (DDC) of the FCT, in collusion with other defendants in the suit, particularly Usman of PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd, went to the land in dispute on May 21, 2021 to drop a purported notice of demolition, giving them (the petitioners) 21 days to either pull down their structures or risk demolition.

The firms added that on May 22, 2021 barely 24 hours after the purported demolition notice was issued, “some persons came to the land in dispute and demolished all the structures,” adding that they were convinced that the demolition was done by the DDC in collusion with Usman of PPDEZI Nigeria Limited, the main party contesting the ownership of the land with them.

The petitioners said they arrived at the above conclusion because on May 5, 2025 when their officials went to drop their letter of complaint at the office of the Director of the DDC, they met the same Yinusa Usman of PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd in the office of the Director.

The suit before the High Court of the FCT, filed in the names of the firms’ directors – Abewojo Kazeem Olanrwaju and Abdulaziz S. Baka – has, as defendants,  the FCT Minister, the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Babayo, Sahabi, PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd and the Chairman, Bwari Area Council.

The plaintiffs stated, in their second amended statement of claim, that they were originally allocated the land via a letter of conveyance of approval, dated April 21, 1999 with reference number: BAC/FCDA/LP&S/129 issued by the FCT Minister.

They claimed to have also been issued a certificate of occupancy (C of O) dated January 20, 2002 with file number: MISC2027 over the land, a copy of which they exhibited along with other documents filed in the suit.

The firms added that during an exercise of recertification/regularisation of title documents, later introduced by the FCT Minister and the FCDA, they submitted their title documents on the land as required and were subsequently issued an acknowledgement, following which their file number was changed from MISC 2067 to MISC 92262 by the FCT Minister and the FCDA.

They said they have been in peaceful possession of the land since 1999 and have undertaking all the necessary processes and have commenced construction of the building approved for the land in line with the approved building plan when Sahabi suddenly appeared on the land in August 2012, claiming to be a Special Adviser to the FCT Minister and threatened to use his link in government to take over the land.

The plaintiffs added that, although PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd later came to also claim ownership of the land, their investigation revealed that Sahabi, in collusion with some officials of the FCT Minister’s office and the FCDA, particularly Babayo “are the one using the fifth defendant (PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd) as hoax to oppressively and illegally take over the plaintiffs’ land know as Plot No. BD/CP/16 measuring about 2.00 hectares, situated at Dutse Alhaji Layout, Abuja.”

They averred that upon their complaint, the FCT Minister and the FCDA caused an investigation to be conducted, following which a report was issued around May 28, 2015 to the effect that “the allocation of the plaintiffs’ land to the fifth defendant (PPDEZI Nigeria Ltd) was done in error and that the land should revert back to the plaintiffs.

“Despite being aware of the fact that the first and second defendants (FCT Minister and the FCDA) have directed that the plaintiffs’ land should revert back to them, the defendant, especially the fifth, are still threatening to take over the land,” they said.

The plaintiffs, while claiming N300million damages against the defendants, want the court to declare among others, that they are the lawful owners of the land and to perpetually restraining the defendants and their agents from further trespassing and disturbing the plaintiffs’ lawful use and occupation of the land.

The defendants, in their separate statements of defence denied the plaintiffs’ claims and prayed the court to dismiss the suit.

In an amended statement of defence of the first to third defendants (FCT Minister, FCDA and Babayo), filed along with their witness statement on oath made by an official of the FCDA, Fatima Aliyu Yahaya, it was claimed that the plaintiffs  have no valid title documents to the land as they were not allocated the land by the relevant agencies of the FCT lawfully saddled with such responsibility.

They stated that the land, which they described as: Plot 1871 of approximately 2.46 hectares in Cadastral Zone F18 Dawaki, Abuja, was lawfully allocated to the fifth defendant – PPDEZI Nigeria Limited.

The fifth defendant, in its further amended statement of defence, filed with an amended additional witness statement on oath by one of its official, Abel Audu, raised similar arguments as the first to third defendants, claiming to have been lawfully allocated the land by the FCT Minister and the FCDA.

PPDEZI Nigeria Limited also filed a counter-claim, in which it is, among others, claiming N200million against the plaintiffs and an order restraining them from trespassing on its said land.



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